21 Best Books to Learn Arabic for Beginners and Beyond

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The hard truth is that Arabic is one of the hardest languages in the world. But while it is difficult, there are plenty of resources available to help you, from apps to books.

As a motivation, always remember that Arabic fluency is a useful skill. Learning Arabic will introduce you to a community of people with whom you will be able to explore, communicate, and learn. It also opens job opportunities in the Middle East and beyond.

Once you’ve started advancing in Arabic, you might find yourself exploring the depths of Arabic literature and poetry. So without any further delay, here are the best books to learn Arabic!

Editor’s note: Want to reach fluency faster? Combine these books with Arabic learning apps such as Mondly and Drops, pick up speaking skills with the world-famous Pimsleur, or sign up for the comprehensive Rocket Arabic course. And how about hiring an affordable Arabic tutor through italki?

Best books to learn the Arabic alphabet

The first thing you want to do as a beginner in Arabic is learning the alphabet.

A lot of books for beginners jump right into studying the language because they assume you’ve mastered the letters. That is why you’re better off familiarizing yourself with the alphabet before you find yourself struggling to read the table of contents!

The following books are a great introduction to the Arabic alphabet because they explain the rules in great detail. There is also a separate section for practicing Arabic writing.

Don’t worry if you think you need more practice; just like how you learned the English alphabet, there are several children’s books available for you to practice the Arabic letters too.

1. Arabic Character Writing For Dummies

If you’re looking for a place to start, then it’s definitely with “For Dummies”.

This book is great for absolute starters to those wanting to write in Arabic. It gives a simple introduction to the language but mostly focuses on the Arabic script. There is enough space for you to practice your letters, and in no time, you will find yourself writing phrases.

This book consists of useful reminders and hints which are bound to be helpful on your learning journey. Be sure to check out the free instructional videos, activities, and additional practices that come with this book!

This book is best for:

  • Introducing the Arabic script with detailed explanation of the Arabic letters
  • Strategies to help you write in Arabic and understand basic Fushah phrases
  • Practicing Arabic writing with letters, words, and phrases

2. Master the Arabic Alphabet, A Handwriting Practice Workbook

If you’ve grasped the general concept of Arabic letters, then you might want to start writing them. This book only consists of exercises for you to practice writing your Arabic letters.

What is particularly great about this book is that it also covers the various styles the letters are written in. There is more than enough space for you to practice and frankly, for the price, it is not a bad deal!

This book is best for:

  • For absolute beginners who only need to practice writing Arabic letters
  • Sufficient space to write each letter
  • Becoming familiar with the different letter styles
  • Understanding the basic pronunciation

Best Arabic books for beginners

Now that you have mastered the Arabic alphabet, you’re ready to teach yourself the good stuff! But before you begin, there are a couple of things you want to familiarize yourself with, such as the history of Arabic, its reading techniques, rulings, and more.

We know that some language books can be overwhelming and dense, which often drives people away. Fortunately, the following books are a friendly introduction to the Arabic language.

3. Arabic : The Ultimate Beginners Learning Guide: Master The Fundamentals Of The Arabic Language 

You might be looking for a proper introduction to the Arabic language. Well, look no further because here you will find a complete breakdown of what to focus on when learning Arabic.

We know that some of the rules may be daunting at first, such as reading the script from right to left. However, this book does a great job of showing you the beauty of the language.

Though bear in mind, this book merely serves as a guide and does not contain any practice exercises. Once you have read it, however, you will definitely have a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses.

This book is best for:

  • Beginners who have a general idea of the Arabic language
  • Grasping the fundamental of Arabic such as the letters, vowels, and consonants
  • Introducing vocabulary, verbs, tenses, and pronouns
  • Learning everyday words such as phrases for family and directions

4. Arabic Course for English Speaking Students – Madina Islamic University 3 Volumes Set

One reason why many people, specifically Muslims, want to learn Arabic is that it is the language of the Quran. In fact, many Muslims today prefer to learn proper Arabic as in the Holy Book rather than the colloquial language.

That is why this book is best for beginners that are willing to study proper Arabic. It covers the language in great depth in accordance with the terminology of the Quran and Hadith.

This book is best for:

  • Beginners who have learned the alphabets
  • Learning Fushah Arabic with a strong focus on the Quran and Hadith
  • Covering a wide range of the Arabic language including grammatical rules and vocabulary
  • Practicing Arabic with exercises and answers
  • Following along with the video courses on YouTube

5. Read and Speak Arabic for Beginners with Audio CD, Second Edition

We get it, you probably want to teach yourself something you can *actually* use. Fortunately, this book is it.

It primarily teaches basic words and phrases that are used in everyday language, which is great for those wanting to communicate in Arabic. Put your Arabic to the test with the activities and practices provided!

This book is best for:

  • Learning basic conversations in Arabic
  • Keeping track of progress through the use of activities, quizzes, flashcards, and more
  • Simultaneously working with the audio provided

6. Salamaat! Learning Arabic with Ease: Learn the Building Blocks of Modern Standard Arabic

If you want to take a step further from the previous book, then this is it. While it contains the common words and phrases used in modern Arabic, it also covers several conversation topics, basic grammar, and writing practices.

Ensure that you can understand and write some Arabic before purchasing this book because it doesn’t contain much English compared to the books previously mentioned. However, an audio set is provided to help you follow along.

Consider this as practice for when you advance to the next stages of Arabic.

This book is best for:

  • Introduction to letters, vowels, and grammar in great detail
  • Practicing writing letters, words, and sentences in Arabic
  • Learning modern Arabic which is commonly used today
  • Following along with the provided MP3 audio CD to enhance pronunciation

7. Learn Arabic in 30 Days

For individuals who are short and time and want to learn Arabic in the quickest way possible, this book covers it all. It is divided into five components and walks through each part so that by the end, you can carry a basic conversation.

In addition, it contains a separate section for those wanting to brush up on their Islamic expressions. For its price, we think it’s a good value.

This book is best for:

  • Quickly learning the alphabet, words, sentences, grammar, and conversation topics.
  • Learning to read with the vowels
  • Understanding basic sentences and conversation topics
  • Individuals who require an English translation while learning Arabic

Best books for learning Arabic vocabulary

To get started with vocabulary, you might want to carry a few picture books. Something that I found quite helpful was carrying a mini dictionary around because I could easily refer to the word I was looking for.

The following books are particularly good at learning Arabic vocabulary.

8. Arabic-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

For our visual learners, this book contains images with their translations. It is perfect for beginners because it covers various settings with their definitions for one to truly expand their vocabulary.

This book is best for:

  • Learning everyday words in common settings
  • Understanding phrases in both Arabic and English
  • Recognizing words with their respective images
  • Accessing a free audio app to hear the pronunciation

9. Merriam-Webster’s Arabic-English Dictionary, Newest Edition, Mass-Market Paperback

Looking for a pocket diary? Merriam Webster has you covered.

With over 22,000 translations, plus a separate section for English irregular verbs, English pronunciation, and the Arabic alphabet for you to refer to, this mini dictionary is a great help for students, travelers, and translators.

This book is best for:

  • Carrying around for everyday activities
  • Finding all the words you need for day to day conversations
  • Referring to additional rulings such as English irregular verbs, English pronunciation symbols, and the Arabic alphabet.

Best books for intermediate learners

When the beginning stages of Arabic are starting to look easy, then you should advance to the next stage: intermediate learner.

At this point, the focus will be shifted towards expanding vocabulary, perfecting grammar, and coming up with well-constructed sentences. The following books are best for intermediate learners.

10. Arabic Vocabulary: With 145 Exercises

It’s time to move away from the picture dictionary. This Practice Makes Perfect book is a great way to start expanding your vocabulary. The book consists of both modern Arabic and Fushah words, essentially giving you a variety to start implementing in your daily conversations.

This book is best for:

  • Intermediate learners who want to expand their vocabulary
  • Learning advanced words to use in various settings
  • Practicing vocabulary and expressions with over 250 exercises

11. Arabic Verb Tenses

Another Practice Makes Perfect book designed to help intermediate learners perfect their verb tenses. Verbs can be a tricky component when learning Arabic as they can change the entire sentence by a difference of a letter.

This book thoroughly covers the general rules and provides several exercises to help you practice.

This book is best for:

  • Detailed explanations on verbs, irregular verbs, vowels, and more
  • Comprehensive exercises to practice verb tenses
  • For learners to refer to verb examples

12. Arabic Pronouns and Prepositions

Our final Practice Makes Perfect book covers Arabic pronouns and prepositions. Pronouns are a crucial part of Arabic because the majority of the words in the language are phrased based on who you are addressing.

Likewise, because prepositions are the building blocks of a sentence, it is one of the first concepts taught in Arabic.

This book is best for:

  • Covering a wide range of pronouns including subject, possessive, object, demonstrative, and more
  • Recognizing which pronouns to use when addressing individuals
  • Forming correct sentences with accurate pronouns and prepositions
  • Perfecting propositions with verbs

Best books for Arabic grammar

The Arabic learning books below are also for intermediate learners but cover grammar as a whole. If you’re looking to study vocabulary, verb tenses, and pronouns and prepositions in one go, then the books below are best to guide you.

13. A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic (Reference Grammars)

This textbook provides a comprehensive insight into Arabic grammar. It thoroughly goes over each aspect of Arabic grammar, providing detailed explanations and concrete examples.

By the end of this book, you will have mastered the main rules of Arabic. You’d also be able to create sentences and communicate with Arabic speakers. It’s pricey but worth it!

This book is best for:

  • Intermediates looking for an all-in-one Arabic book
  • Studying each aspect of the language in detail, including verbs, nouns, participles, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and so much more.

14. Modern Standard Arabic Grammar: A Learner’s Guide 1st Edition

This dense book is regarded as one of the best books for intermediate learners because it observes the Arabic language in great depth.

The concepts are organized into categories, with each containing clear and comprehensive explanations as well as descriptive examples for learners to easily grasp the concepts being taught.

In other words, if you’re willing to spend some money on a single book that clearly teaches each concept, then this is it.

This book is best for:

  • Learning the modern standard Arabic for intermediate learners
  • Establishing the building blocks of Arabic, including syntax, grammar rules, and alphabetical and numerical rules
  • Visual learners who understand concepts through the use of tables, charts, and symbols

15. Easy Arabic Grammar

This is another easy grammar book that is great for detailed explanations of the various grammar aspects of Arabic.

The book is divided into two sections, one for the fundamentals of Arabic and another for verbs. The grammar sections cover topics such as masculine and feminine, plurals, adjectives, and the verbs portion thoroughly explains the different components of verbs.

In addition, there is a summary page at the end of each unit to remind you of the main concepts.

This book is best for:

  • Studying Arabic grammar at the intermediate level
  • Practicing Arabic grammar with examples, exercises, and activities

Best audiobooks to learn Arabic

When it comes to learning a language, it is most helpful to refer to audio materials such as TV shows, movies, songs, and even audiobooks. In fact, audiobooks are a particularly useful tool because they ensure accurate pronunciation.

Remember, the same word in Arabic can mean something completely different with the wrong pronunciation! We know it can be particularly tricky for newbies to pronounce the “haa” or the “khaa”, which is why an audiobook is your best bet to teach yourself if you don’t have an instructor on stand by.

The following audiobooks are best to help you with your enunciations and perfecting an Arab accent.

16. Learn Arabic: 3000 essential words and phrases

While your general dictionary is great to learn new vocabulary, this audiobook will ensure that you are pronouncing the words properly.

Simply allow this to run in your background and repeat after the words so that you can truly master the Arabic words in that Arab accent.

This book is best for:

  • Learning a wide range of words and expressions in Arabic
  • Following along to the English translation that accompanies the Arabic phrases
  • Using these expressions in common settings

17. Arabic: Learn to Speak and Understand Modern Standard Arabic with Pimsleur Language Programs 

If you’re looking for a series of audiobooks to follow along to, Pimsleur provides the best detailed and interactive lessons to help you sharpen your Arabic.

Besides this audiobook, there are additional colloquial Arabic audiobooks you can select from such as Eastern Arabic and Egyptian Arabic. Additionally, each set comes with levels 1-3 with 30 lessons per level.

Here’s a great idea: Try the Pimsleur Arabic course free for seven days!

This audiobook is best for:

  • Getting a headstart in conversational Arabic
  • Grasping instructor’s accent and pronunciation of words
  • Learning the modern Arabic in great detail

18. Learn Arabic for Beginners Easily & in Your Car! Vocabulary Edition!

For those looking to improve their Egyptian Arabic, this audiobook is an easy to go, hands free tool to help you.

Simply play the audio in your car and follow along to the instructor who repeats each word twice in both Arabic and English to help you learn 1500 words in no time.

This book is best for:

  • Beginners that are only looking to learn new vocabulary
  • Learning the Egyptian accent

Stories for beginners to advanced learners

Now that you’re familiar with some Arabic vocabulary and grammar, it is time to read. Reading will help you recognize the syntax of Arabic, learn new vocabulary, and give you the confidence to speak.

Story books for intermediate learners consist of more advanced texts, with a stronger focus on grammar and vocabulary to develop your Arabic reading skills.

Expert-level books are best for introducing you to the other aspects of the Arabic language. For instance, it might be a great opportunity for you to explore Arabic poetry.

19. Easy Arabic Reader 1st Edition

This beginner-friendly book contains three short stories to practice your Arabic reading.

This book is for learners who can read Arabic words but need to practice reading without the vowels. You can refer to definitions, explanations, and illustrations to strengthen your Arabic.

This book is best for:

  • Reading simple stories in Arabic with some English translation
  • Individuals looking to answer exercises after each story
  • Following along to the provided audio set

20. Short Stories in Arabic for Intermediate Learners

This book is the best option for intermediate learners.

It consists of eight short stories, each of different genres, as well as comprehension questions, and a separate section for vocabulary. That way, you will begin to shift more towards the Arabic language and depend less on English translations.

You can purchase this book in paperback or as an audiobook.

This book is best for:

  • Intermediate learners looking to expand their Arabic reading skills
  • Implementing dialogues in the stories in real-life conversations

21. Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (Arabic): Kitab Alf Layla wa Layla (Arabic Edition)

Next, a story book for advanced Arabic learners. The Thousand and One Nights collection is a must in every Arabic-speaking individual’s library. It is one of the classic Arabic books which makes perfect sense for you to begin your reading here.

Plus it will give you a great insight to the greatness of Arabic literature with its rich literature, poetry, idioms and so much more.

This book is best for:

  • Experts willing to read advance Arabic
  • Reading a collection of classic short stories
  • Becoming familiar with Arabic poetry, songs, expressions, and riddles.

Hopefully, you have found the right book which will help you learn Arabic!

We know it’s not easy to learn the second most difficult language in the world, but we strongly believe it is worth it. These books will help you reach your Arabic learning goals, so dive in.

To advance even faster, combine these books with some of the best apps to learn Arabic.

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